Remember http://bilingualbebe.blogspot.com/2013/03/translating-on-spot-interpreter-training.html ?
It's not easy to do, and as Nesta grows and is interested in longer stories I'm looking to start purchasing books in Spanish instead. Still, many of the books that we have are hand-me-downs and Nesta loves them. Some of his favorites are the Todd Parr books and the Gossie books. I find these books easy to translate on the spot.
As I was looking at the very limited kid's section of books in Spanish at my favorite books store, I noticed something that drove me nuts instantly. I found Gossie in Spanish, and at first I was so happy, and then I noticed something. The title, the name of the main character, the one I have left alone as I translated everything else, the main mojo of the thing IT IS DIFFERENT!!!! Instead of Gossie the name of this new gosling is Gansi. What? WHAT? When I moved to the United States I did not start spelling my name with an H! Well that might be a bad example, but still. Why change the name? I understand that Gossie is a name in English, and it describes a gosling, and Gansi is short for gansito, but I cannot do that to Nesta. Nesta has met Gossie, he has not met Gansi. I showed him the book, and I said Gansi and he said Gossie. I understand that after many reads he will get that there is a Gossie and a Gansi and that they are the same gosling, just like he understands that there is a mesa and a table and they are the same thing. Still, I'm annoyed.
Needless to say, I"m not purchasing Gansi, mainly because I already have it in English and it is an easy book to translate. What really bugs me, is that Gertie's name is unchanged. Why didn't they change it to Gertrudis?
I guess there will always be something lost in translation. The in-between where bilingual folks live, the in-between place where I'll have to take Nesta to or where I'll have to watch him go and discover on his own. The Limbo that lives between our cultures, our language and our identities. That seemingly lonely place, that I hope with time he finds it's not so lonely and really fun to discover. The place that at the end of the day will help him see who he is and who he's not. No comparisons, only you and all that you represent. Something you cannot translate.